|August 11, 2014||Posted by Pamela Thompson under Working Mom Wisdom|
My husband has a fun (sadistic) game in which he tries to make me cry about the children growing up. I tear up easily, so it is not a difficult game for him.
For the most part, I am so happy to see my kids grow up. I’m a more patient mom to school aged kids than toddlers, and I really enjoy my teens. As they grow, I can see the fruit of my labors take shape. I enjoy watching their personalities develop.
And yet, I still miss the chubby faced, grubby hugs and kisses of toddlerhood.
Those endless nights in the rocking chair are gone.
It is pretty rare for anyone to cry as I walk out the door, yet most are still really happy to see me return.
I can usually go grocery shopping alone, though it would be nice to have company.
I don’t change any diapers, and I no longer feel the need to get involved in breastfeeding debates.
Now I worry about how often to send college care packages, and what to pack in them.
I worry about how to make the most of the time my other five have at home with us.
I wonder about how many grandchildren we will be blessed with.
I pray that my sons choose good wives (and that they like me!).
I worry that I will be burnt out when the youngest get to their teen years.
I giggle a little at the things that seemed so important in my early years of parenting. . . breast vs. bottle, sahm vs. daycare, cloth vs. disposable, how many playdates to plan. . . . And now all of that seems so trivial–it mattered, and still matters, but I question whether it deserved so much of my attention?
So, my dear husband linked this song to me on my Facebook AND my Twitter feed this morning (I’m sure he heard it on his iTunes radio as he was making breakfast). I’m glad he thought of me, but he knew it would make me cry. . . . It worked.
|August 7, 2014||Posted by Pamela Thompson under Working Mom Wisdom|
This is a picture from what seems a lifetime ago. A quick snapshot of four women outside of our cabin at a Pastor’s wives retreat. We were all supporting our husbands in the same geographical area. We spent the weekend laughing, crying, praying for each other.
Within the next few years, we were all separated from each other as husbands took calls to other congregations in other states.
Yesterday, fellow PW (pastor’s wife) Heidi posted this insightful post on the families we leave behind. It is true. Ministry families often suffer from being so far from our extended families. We miss out on birthday parties, sometimes weddings, group vacations and the like. It is part of the package. And we are not alone, there are many non-ministry families who are separated by distance as well.
But another gaping hole of loss is our friends. For some PWs, making friends is difficult. Many end up in small, close knit communities, many have issues with not knowing who they can trust. I was blessed to have this group of women to lean on in the years following my husband’s graduation from seminary. I cried great big, sobbing, ugly cry tears when I left them. Church conferences can feel like a reunion.
I’m blessed. I make friends fairly easily. . .my outgoing kids sure have helped! But there is something about a friendship with a woman who is walking a similar walk with you. One who shares similar struggles and frustrations. One who understands exactly why we never get “fun weekend getaways”. One who understands exactly why our husbands hurt when their people are hurting. One who knows the joy and privilege of serving alongside a true servant of God.
There is something about those very friendships that make them maybe a wee bit more special. There is something about them that compells us to give just a little bit more of ourselves. We are in a kind of sorority that we may never have chosen to be a part of, but now can no longer imagine any other kind of life.
When you have these kinds of friendships, treasure them. Nurture them. Pray for them.
|August 6, 2014||Posted by Pamela Thompson under Working Mom Wisdom|
I pray a lot.
That is not boasting. It is a simple fact.
I was raised in the church. As I learned to speak, I learned to pray.
My first prayers were simple, a common table prayer, “now I lay me down to sleep” at bedtime.
As I grew, I learned far more powerful prayers. I learned to pray as Jesus taught his very own disciples to pray, with the “Our Father”, and when I reached confirmation age, I learned the very power of that seemingly simple prayer.
I try to spend a little focused time each morning in prayer and God’s Word.
I pray with and for my children.
I pray for my co-workers.
I pray for my blog readers.
I see my Facebook newsfeed as a scrolling prayer list.
I’ve seen answers to God’s prayers (and he always answers). God has sustained me through tough pregnancies. God continues to sustain His church. God richly provides for our daily needs.
I’ve also seen evidence of God answering prayers in ways that I did not desire. I’ve had beloved family members pass away too soon. I’ve not been offered jobs that I have applied for. I still don’t have unlimited money and resources. My children are still disobedient.
So, because God does not act like a genie in a bottle granting all of my wishes, does this mean that my prayers are futile?
Prayer is how we talk to God. And through our prayers, and conversations with God, sometimes the biggest change is in US.
In our society, there is a value in a “take charge” attitude. If you want something, you need to work hard to achieve it. We can’t just sit back and whine about what we don’t have.
Prayer takes the focus off of us.
Prayer acknowledges that all that we have, all that we are, and our entire future, is in God’s hands. When we acknowledge that God is truly in control, then we can trust Him to guide our ways. We learn that we can turn our worries and cares over to him. We can release them into His most capable arms. We can pray for healing and be confident that we will be granted healing, either in this world, or the next. We can pray for success, and acknowledge that success in God’s eyes may look different than what we envision. We can be bold, and ask for more than we deserve, knowing that we have already received so much more than we deserved when Jesus gave up his life for us. We are already blessed beyond comprehension . . . we have received the free gift of eternal life!
I have set aside a day to pray for you, my readers. During my work day I check in on my Facebook Page and say short prayers for each of you. I petition God for each of you. And I ask that you do the same for me.
In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he closes with these final instructions, and these words stand true today as well:
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Brothers, pray for us.
Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 ESV)
If you are looking for more information on prayer, and how to pray, A Simple Way to Pray, is a valuable resource written by Martin Luther for his friend and Barber. It has been recently translated from the German by Matthew Harrison and is a rich resource in a small (and very affordable) book.
With that, my friends, how can I pray for you today?
|August 4, 2014||Posted by Pamela Thompson under Working Mom Wisdom|
Other than book reviews (and I have some more to do! I’ve been reading a lot this summer), I’ve taken some time off from the blog. Summer is my busiest time of work, with quite a bit of travel, so when I am home with the kids, I have been working on being present. And that means that I have spent very little time on my home computer.
Things are finally winding down a little at work (yay!), or I’m getting used to things, or I’m just feeling more peace and less stress. All of these are good things.
I miss my blog.
I miss my interaction with you.
I need a space to pour my heart out.
So, I’m back. Again.
I want to point you to my Facebook page. And to Twitter. Even when I don’t have time to blog, I have time for social media! On Wednesdays on Facebook, I’ve been asking you how I could pray for you. I’ve been praying for health for family members, for patience, for peace and for wisdom. It has been such a privilege to pray for you. And, since you have asked, I have given you opportunities to pray for me as well.
I’m heading into a strange new season. I’ll have six kids in five schools this fall, from University down to preschool. I’m struggling with the joy and pride of seeing my children grow up, smart and healthy and vibrant; but also reeling with how quickly it all goes, and how overwhelming all of their emotions can be. The fact that my husband and I have raised one human being to adulthood has not truly sunken in yet. And, all of a sudden, 18 seems so young. . .
I’m working on teaching my kids to be more organized. And, as I build them tools that work, I’ll share them with you. Long story short, I’m a terrible secretary for my kids, so I want them to be able to function without a secretary. If you have found tactics that work, share them in the comments or on the Facebook page. What I am really looking for is a homework planner that takes into account daily assignments and planning ahead for long term projects.
I’m working on being a better friend. I’m an extroverted introvert. So, while I want to go out and do fun things with my friends . . . sometimes what I really want to do is sit in my recliner and read. But, then, I suffer from loneliness. You will be happy to know that since writing that post, I was able to spend some precious time with two of my “besties”. I took the girls on a road trip to visit Essie of EssiesBlessings and help her through a tough transition, and my cousin Kristen and my aunt came and spent some time with us during our lake vacation last month. Both of these visits helped to fill up my bank, so to speak. I also had some good times with my local friends, and I know that I need to make more time for these “dates”.
I’m still working out that whole work/life balance thing. It gets a little easier with time, and it certainly gets easier once the kids are in school. Summer can get crazy with summer school and camp pick ups and drop offs all day long. At times, my mini van became a mobile office!
In short, I’m still me. Perfectly imperfect. Flawed and forgiven.
What have you been up to?
|June 17, 2014||Posted by Pamela Thompson under Reviews and Giveaways|
Disclosure: I received this book in order to facilitate my review. I have received no other compensation, and, as always, the opinions are my own.
From the Publisher:
Bronwyn “BitsyWyn” Whalen hasn’t set eyes on the red dirt of Magnolia Creek, Alabama, for fourteen years—not since her mama died. But with her brother, Patrick, imprisoned for the murder of her childhood best friend, and her eccentric father, Jackson, at his wits’ end while her eleven-year-old niece, Byrd, runs wild, Bronwyn finds herself once again surrounded by ancient magnolia trees and the troubled family she left behind. She becomes immersed in a whirlwind of mystery and magic as she tries to figure out what really happened that fateful night her friend died. And as her bond with Byrd deepens, Bronwyn must face the demons of her past in order to unravel her family’s uncertain future.In Suzanne Palmieri’s thrilling new novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, readers will learn if love and magic are enough to bring a broken family back together.
I lost a week in my review cycle. I went to visit @EssieBurns to help her with a major project in Minnesota last week, and that just so happened to entail going without internet for four days. That may not be a big deal for you, but for me it is HUGE! I also accidentally left my iPad at home. The iPad that houses many of my books, and all of my favorite time killers (Candy Crush, anyone?). I learned though, that this internet exile was a really good thing. I had no choice but to spend good, lovely, quality time with my dearest friend. But, long story short, this review did not get posted last week.
I have a disclaimer for this review. I am a woman of strong Christian faith. I am not a fan of witchcraft. I do not condone witchcraft. This novel DOES deal heavily with many aspects of the supernatural. I am able to discern, and have the curiosity and ability to read about other cultures without being pulled away from my faith. Because of this, I was able to enjoy this gothic novel. IF you are more sensitive about themes like this, you may want to skip this book.
Disclaimer aside, I enjoyed The Witch of Belladonna Bay. I enjoyed the comparison and contrast between Alabama and Massachusetts. The relationship between Bronwyn and Byrd is touching to watch unfold. The dysfunctional family dynamics, combined with the magic, intrigue and mystery make this a page turning novel.
About the Author:
Suzanne Palmieri Hayes is the author of The Witch of Little Italy and the forthcoming The Witch of Belladonna Bay (May, 2014). She is also the co-author of I’ll Be Seeing You under the name Suzanne Hayes. She lives by the ocean with her husband and three darling witches. She is currently hard at work on her next novel.
Connect with the Suzanne Palmieri: